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Video Game Design and Development Associate Degree

Read about what you'd learn in a video game design and development associate's degree program, and explore some of the courses you could take. Get info on your job options in the game design field. Check the salary potential for game designers.

What Will an Associate's Degree Program in Video Game Design and Development Teach Me?

A video game design and development associate's degree program provides the design and development fundamentals that create video games, using interactive media and industry-specific computer software. You will learn about creative concepts that contribute to the making of a successful video game, including character development, 3-D modeling, animation, interface development and storytelling. This degree program will also teach you the technical aspects of video game production that may include audio production, programming and software development.

Program Type On-campus and distance learning
Common Courses Character development, animation, storytelling, interface development, and 3-D modeling
Career Options Animator, sound designer, creative director, engine programmer, and modeler
Median Salary (2018) $72,520 (for all multimedia artists and animators
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all multimedia artists and animators

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will My Classes Be Like?

Many of your classes will focus on the digital design component of video game design and production. In these classes you will learn about design theory, illustration, editing and animation. In addition to design, you will also learn the technical strategies like coding and scripting that create effective video games. Some classes you could take in this area are C++ and Java programming, project development and game scripting.

Another major aspect of your education will be learning the necessary industry computer software, such as 3-DS Max, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Visual Studio. Some video game development coursework may involve PHP, HTML and CSS for online interaction or support.

Most schools set up their curricula to be hands-on in the studio and computer lab. However, there are a few online programs available.

What Will I Be Able To Do With This Degree?

You could apply your education to console design, interactive media or software development. Some examples of positions you could hold are:

  • Animator
  • Modeler
  • Sound designer
  • Creative director
  • Engine programmer

What Might I Earn?

According to Game Developer magazine's ninth annual salary survey, independent contracting or self-employment was the norm in the industry, with 68% of gaming professionals of all types having never worked in a a salaried position at an established game development company. The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics states the median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators was $72,520  in May 2018.